Saturday, August 31, 2013

A quick hello from Impact 8...

... where our Edition Four books are causing quite a stir!  There was a bit of to-ing and fro-ing about whether I had an exhibition or an Open Books session at the conference in addition to my paper, but in the end I was lucky enough to get an exhibition slot (which is what I thought I'd got in the first place!) and laid out a long plinth with a selection of the books we sent to Sarah Bodman.  Sarah kindly brought them up with her in the car from Bristol, saving me the effort of bringing them over in my suitcase.

I think my talk went OK: I did a slideshow of lots of BAO Edition Four photos, plus a more detailed investigation of selected works: thank you to Caren, Helen and Jack for giving me permission to use their work for my talk and for sharing their words with me as I put it together.   I was talking about my journey as a printmaker into artists' books and how they function in my practice.  Anyway, I managed NOT to fluff my words, the technology worked for a change (I turned up with 3 different technological versions of the slide show and 2 printed versions of my talk!) and I had fun.

When I set out I had visions of mobile blogging from the airport onwards, but it hasn't quite turned out that way and I'm finding myself slightly frustrated with not being able to share more with you at the moment.  My guesthouse has a Wi-Fi connection but it's not robust enough for me to be able to do much in the way of uploading photos, and for some reason my phone I mean camera :-) has ceased to connect automatically to my laptop which means it isn't uploading photos to the laptop, which makes everything a bit difficult.  However, don't feel too sorry for me as I am writing this, sitting in the Macmanus Gallery in Dundee with a nice cafĂ© latte, a packet of Scottish tablet (a lovely creamy fudge which I haven't eaten in over 30 years) in my pocket, surrounded by the accents of my childhood.  And in the few days I've been here I've had two brilliant trips into Arbroath, 17 miles up the coast, exploring the sea cliffs where my father took photographs almost 50 years ago, and looking around the town where generations of his family came from. 

Dundee has put on all sorts of print-related activities during the conference and I had a gallery-crawl last night, lubricated with a couple of glasses of Shetland Islands gin and tonic. At Dundee Contemporary Arts I thoroughly enjoyed an exhibition of Sister Carita (must check the name, but I think that's right), a nun in 1960 - 1970s LA who taught art and art history. These are her rules of creativity, and I think I'm going to print them out and stick them on my studio wall, as well as ram them down the throats of my students.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Fiona's Book is on Huffington Post

Fiona Dempster's contribution to Edition 4, A Subversive Stitch, is being featured on the Huffington Post as part of a slide show promoting the upcoming 500 Handmade Books vol. 2. Only 7 books are featured.

From The Huffington Post

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Books ... beyond words

Had the good fortune last weekend to be able to travel to Bairnsdale for the opening of East Gippsland Art Gallery's Books ... beyond words exhibition. The exhibition (which runs until 4 September) features over eighty artists' books from Australia and overseas. There was a real buzz around the opening and a sense of just how important regional galleries are to their communities.

BAO was well represented in the exhibition with works by Rhonda Ayliffe, Fiona Dempster, Lisa Giles, Helen Malone, Gail Stiffe, Terence Uren, Amanda Watson-Will and Sandra Winkworth (and apologies if I've overlooked anyone). More information on the exhibition can be found here.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Last Night -- At Last!

While I've had a blast following everyone's posts here, and watching all of these wonderful book projects unfold, I've been a terrible slacker and have just gotten around to finishing my book for Group Two, "Last Night."

I went around and around with the idea for this book, but got an image in my head months ago that I was never able to shake. I've been doing a lot of work that is fueled by mythology lately, and one that stuck with me was the story of Lailaps and the Teumessian fox: it's a classic tale of an unending chase--one that was destined to last forever. The dog that was destined to always catch his quarry was set on the trail of the infamous fox, who was destined to never be caught...and thus their chase was placed in the constellations to go on as long as the earth turns.

Of course at the time I first came upon this story, I couldn't help but draw a parallel between this pairing and my own attempted pairing with a man that I was just doomed to move in circles with. It wasn't as dramatic as your typical Greek tragedy, but the comparisons were just too fruitful for the making of books, and so several editions were born of that experience. You can see images and excerpts from those books on my website, Firebrand Press. Vixens have appeared in other of my mixed media pieces as well, but even after working on several pieces, this story of the doomed chase still haunted me.

And so one day, an idea came to me for "Last Night" in the form of the dog and the vixen. I took some liberties, feeling like drawing a wolf more so than a hunting dog. At left is the sketch on linoleum.

I wanted them to be close, but separated by a barrier that just barely held them apart. I've become quite fond of the boustrophedon structure, one I've used a time or two before. The maze-like quality seems perfect for a book about a chase, or for a tangled love affair. And so I planned to print a single sheet that would have to be unfurled for the whole image to be revealed. 

The final print is shown here, with cuts and folds in place in the 'Z' pattern. I letterpress printed the covers using a couple of wooden typefaces in the shop, and then covered .059" boards to give these a little heft. The book opens to about 12" by 17" and closes to approximately 4" x 4.75".

And finally, here's a close-up of the troubled vixen (it ain't easy being chased):

The last step is to create a simple slipcase for each of these books, and then they are bound for the U.S. Postal Service. 
I'm thrilled to have been a part of this exchange, and have taken great delight in opening the mailbox to discover the books my group members have been sending. Thanks for all the wonderful books! 

Now on to my other piece for Group 10, "Collaborative Dreaming with Dick Turpin"...